chapter  11
Islamophobia in Ireland
Challenges from below?
WithJames Carr
Pages 12

When I first started studying Islamophobia in Ireland, or (as I prefer to call it) anti-Muslim racism, 1 it was 2010, and the Irish state and those residing therein were in the grip of recession. The Irish government, as with many others across the globe was engaged in a campaign of so-called ‘austerity’, embodied through large scale cuts to public expenditure. One of the first areas to face financial restrictions, indeed all out cuts to funding was the Irish human rights infrastructure. This included state agencies such as the Equality Authority and the semi-state body known as the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI). In the context of anti-Muslim racism, the NCCRI was unique in that it provided insights, albeit limited, on experiences of this pernicious phenomenon in Ireland. Qualitative information, ascertained through reports made to the NCCRI by civil society organisations (CSOs) and members of the public provided the only insights we had on anti-Muslim racism. The NCCRI did not capture data on rates of anti-Muslim hostility and discrimination (Carr 2016a). While bodies such as the Equality Tribunal did have data on reports of religious discrimination vis-à-vis accessing goods and services, these were not disaggregated by faith identity and as such it was impossible to readily identify anti-Muslim sentiment in these contexts. Thus, with the loss of the NCCRI we lost the only, available insights on anti-Muslim racism in Ireland (ibid.).